Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Omg! Insider Rebranding of 'The Insider' Illustrates the Intertwined Relationship between TV and Internet

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Omg! Insider Rebranding of 'The Insider' Illustrates the Intertwined Relationship between TV and Internet

Article excerpt

STUDIO CITY, Calif. -- In recent years we've seen a lot of evidence that TV and the Internet share a reciprocal relationship. Networks share their stars' Twitter handles. Publicists send out press releases touting a program's buzz factor on social media sites. "Sharknado" happened.

Earlier this year one whole TV show was revamped with the influence of the Internet -- and an Internet brand -- at the heart of the makeover.

Syndicated entertainment news magazine "The Insider" became "omg! Insider" (7:30 Monday through Saturday, KDKA-TV), rebranding as part of a deal with Yahoo!'s omg! celebrity gossip/news site.

Launched in 2004 as a spinoff of "Entertainment Tonight," the show been through multiple formats (entertainment news, tabloid, panel discussion) and anchors (past hosts include Pat O'Brien and Lara Spencer). It morphed into its latest incarnation in January with Kevin Frazier and Thea Andrews as its primary on-air talent

"omg! Insider" is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution and, as on its sister show "ET," the plugs for other CBS properties run rampant, from culling news clips from "CBS This Morning" to on-set appearances by a "Big Brother" evictee. During a January show, Arsenio Hall just happened to be on the set when TV critics arrived so he could preview his upcoming return to late-night TV.

Now with the Yahoo! tie-in, the show also features Yahoo!- branded experts and personalities and is quick to jump on anything that generates social media buzz, even without corporate connections. The day after Syfy's "Sharknado" blew up Twitter last month, "omg! Insider" teased a "Sharknado" report throughout the broadcast.

"We're looking at it more like a conversation," said executive producer Brad Bessey, a former "ET" producer." We have an opportunity to create something that is a 24/7 sort of entertainment experience. We really take it seriously when we say we're doing a show that is part of people's social network. …

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